Several years ago, when I was still a parish pastor, a woman whom I had never met called to make an appointment to discuss the baptism of her soon-to-be-born child. When she arrived, I was a little surprised; she was just 15 years old. During the discussion I happened to ask in a matter of fact way, “How did you come to decide to become pregnant?” I was expecting an answer such as, “It was an accident;” or, “My boyfriend and I got carried away.” I predicted an impulse control issue. Instead, without hesitation and in all sincerity, she replied, “I just wanted somebody to love me.” Quite frankly, my heart missed a beat – I was stunned. On so many levels it was a gut-wrenching reply. My heart went out to her, and especially her child. That is a tall order for a newborn child to fulfill! I wondered about her home life, the safety of both her and her child. What were their long-term prospects? And why did she come to a church she had never been to before? What was she really looking for? Was she only there to discuss baptism? She taught me something that day about the importance of the role of the church to be compassionate, merciful, and available in addressing the complex needs of people in our community.
I was reminded of this incident this week when I learned that, in the past month, two pregnant teenage girls came to LSG to place their unborn child up for adoption. For each of them, it was their second child. People of faith and the church need to be both an available resource and a compassionate witness to God’s love in addressing the many difficult needs of people in our community. We are all called to bring hope, healing, and strength to a broken and hurting world – to the many whose anguish declares, “I just want somebody to love me.”